The Message in the Bottle is a Lie

Every time you twist the lid off a cool, supposedly pure and crisp, 250m bottle of water, you spend $1.50. A litre of gas for your car costs, on average, costs $1.35 per litre. A litre of water is $6.00 and a litre of gas is $1.35. You do the math. When did water become more expensive than gas?

Drinking water is the new oil.

We have no idea when we will run out of fossil fuels, but a study by the UN states that two-thirds of the world will lack access to drinkable water. I say why not knock two birds out with one stone. Are we this blind and stupid that we buy water that is pumped right out of our own backyards? 40 percent of bottled water is pumped out of our own taps and resold to us. Wow, do I feel stupid. Secondly, the amount oil used annually to produce and transport bottled water is 17 million barrels a year, or the equivalent of running 1 million cars for a year.

These are all stunning reasons to stop drinking bottled water, but on the financial side, it also makes sense. For example, the suggested amount of water an individual should drink is 8 cups a day. There are 236m in a cup of water. If you apply the fact that a bottle of water contains 250ml of H2O, you almost need 7 or 8 bottle of water a day.

If we were to assume on the extreme end and conclude that you drink 7 to 8 bottles of $1.50 water, That would equal $12 a day, $84 a week, $336 a month and finally…$3,528 to $4,032 dollars a year. I know that we all don’t drink that much water in a day, much less spend $12 a day on bottled water, but a gallon of water from the tap is 250 to 1,000 times cheaper than bottled water. Bottled water companies are only audited for sanitation every three years and city water is checked everyday. Again, you do the math. The idea that bottled water is healthier is a lie. Tap water is just as, or maybe even more pure than bottled water. I don’t even want to get into plastic contaminate issues associated with bottled water.

You can check out a four-year study by the National Resource Defence Council here. They point out all the pros of drinking tap water versus bottle water. You make the choice.

Simply put, if you don’t drink bottled water, you save money, save water and save the earth. That’s a combo that can’t be beat.


6 Responses to “The Message in the Bottle is a Lie”

  1. 1 Jonathon June 15, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Interesting post, particularly your point about water being more expensive than gasoline (although, goodness knows, perhaps not for long at the rate gas prices are climbing).

    Your idea about saving water (re: the UN study you mentioned) doesn’t really make sense to me. As I understand it, we’re still going to be drinking the same amount of water, regardless of whether it comes from a bottle or the tap, so wouldn’t we deplete the water supply just as quickly drinking tap water, or does the bottling process take more water than city filtration? If two-thirds of the world is going to lose access to drinking water, a good system of transporting bottled water would actually seem like an asset to me, at least until permanent pipelines could be built.

    Another question I have: despite how clean or healthy tap water is compared with bottled water, it often tastes different after having been run through a filter at home. I realize that city water restrictions are high and tap water is not usually harmful to drink, but if tap water restrictions are tighter than bottled water restrictions, why does tap water taste like bottled water after it’s been filtered?

    Bottling your own water really comes down to thinking ahead; you can’t judge people for buying bottled water if you buy a cola or an iced latte instead, because just as many trucks are going to be burning the oil to carry the cola or the coffee as the water, and both the cola and iced latte need water somewhere down the line. It’s for the convenience that people by the water; otherwise they’d just filter their own.

    To its furthest extent, this idea of bottling your own water is centred on the notion of living locally to reduce carbon emissions from transport. In the balance of quality of life and environmental impact, bottling your own water is not much of a sacrifice; it’s also just as easy to buy local produce, meats, and groceries in many areas, if you’re willing to put in the time to find the markets in the first place. The question is whether our culture will be okay with sacrificing convenience to save the environment.

  2. 2 B.W. Drinker June 19, 2008 at 2:44 am

    So many people just regurgitate old previously proven incorrect information. It’s time for some facts to come to the table. Your math simply does not add up. I used to work for a state agency that regulates public water systems (PWS), and I appreciate and support the need for maintaining an infrastructure that provides our citizens with safe drinking water. But I abhor activists who turn bottled water into a tabloid issue with nonfactual information and sensationalized frenzies. Where do these folks shop for bottled water? Anyone can buy a case of 24 0.5 L bottles for the equivalent of $1.58 per gallon or less–one third the price of gasoline. NRDC and other groups are incorrect about FDA jurisdiction. The bottle of water is a unit, and the entire unit is regulated. So, unless the container, closure, label, and the water itself all come from the same state, it is regulated by the FDA. Regarding filtration, NYC and many other cities are not required to filter their municipal water. Bottled water uses a multi-barrier process that ensures proper filtration and disinfection. Should we talk about the bottle? OK, the bottle keeps the outside environment out of the product, protecting it from contamination and preserving the clean room conditions it was bottled in. Try ensuring a clean room quality product with any PWS distribution system, old or new. OK, next, bottle disposal. Recycling is a necessity, and it’s readily available in most parts of the country. Consumers need more education. But bottled water containers constitute 0.3% of the municipal waste stream in the U.S. Have these activists looked in their refrigerators, pantries, bathrooms, and laundry rooms lately? How many food and consumer products are packaged in something other than plastic? Plastic recycling is much bigger than bottled water can ever be primarily responsible for. And finally, I’m a free citizen of this country, and I maintain a good diet by choice. And I have the freedom to choose what I will ingest into my body. Perhaps these folks would like a ride to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Montgomery County, Md., to fill their stainless steel canteens. Guess what they’re drinking? Uh-huh, bottled water. That’s right, without availability of bottled water, people in disaster areas have few or no options for clean, safe drinking water.

    Let’s get off the bottle and move on to the real issues: an improved PWS infrastructure and consumer education about recycling that involves all consumer products manufacturers. Equally important, let’s get off the idea that groups of activists can work behind the public’s backs and lobby for legislation that aims to tell us what we can and cannot do with our lives. Wake up America! I’m an independent voter, but this is all enough to make me vote for McCain!

  3. 3 dougvs June 19, 2008 at 4:21 am

    @ B.W. Drinker

    With your first point regarding the price of water, yes you are correct partly. You can buy water in bulk for a lower price, but if you were to walk into a local store today and buy a litre of bottled water it would cost you the same if not more than a litre of gas, about $1.40.

    Yes you can buy them in bulk, but even still that puts the price from a range of 240-1000 times more expensive than the alternative- tap water. Most people drink bottled water for the convenience aspect, at stores, and they are not purchasing their water in bulk.

    Regarding filtration, please see this document regarding filtration in NYC ( ), and please note that if you were to take even a cursory glance of what the purpose of WaterDrop is instead of blindly writing down rhetoric, you might realize that this is a Vancouver based site, and yes,the city does filter the water here too. ( ) and please see here (

    Regarding packaging and recycling,absolutely I agree, ‘consumers need more education’ and we are not saying that bottled water should be eradicated. But the fact is, the global water is a $50 billion industry, and before 10 years ago, the world got along just fine. So, much like the small effort it takes to recycle, the little time it takes to fill a container filled with tap water is worth it for the future. Its cheaper and its better for the environment. Just because we have access to bottled water, doesn’t mean we have to use abuse it. Your logic in the statement “plastic recycling is much bigger than bottled water can ever be primarily responsible for” is faulty, because although it is most certainly true, the ideology that “because one thing is a smaller part of a bigger problem, that it isn’t necessary to be responsible,” is very flawed.

    About disaster relief, clearly WaterDrop is clearly not advocating the complete removal of bottled water from the planet. Obviously it is important for disaster relief and emergencies. What is true however, is that with minimal effort, any person can have a big part in saving the environment,and that can be as simple as pouring a glass of water.

  4. 4 Cail June 19, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Nice work, DougVS. You stated your purpose and effectively objective-handled BW Drinker’s concerns. An excellent product that has greatly increased my own water consumption is my Sigg water bottle. They are an excellent product that I would recommend to anybody dissatisfied with Nalgen or other plastic bottles. Here is an excerpt from their site:

    What has made the SIGG bottle “WORLD FAMOUS”?

    Non-toxic water-based baked-on inner lining that does not impart odors or tastes. Safe for fruit juice and carbonated drinks, and prevents any metallic taste. The lining flexes with the bottle, so if dented no break or crack appears on the inner surface.

    Lightweight But Strong
    The bottles weigh no more than plastic bottles and yet stand up to daily use. Stronger than plastic, safer than glass.

    Leak proof
    Seamless construction, extruded from a single piece of high-grade aluminum. Locking tops are designed to prevent leaks.

    SIGG bottles are functional works of art. The powder-coated baked finish will maintain its beauty for years. We do not recommend cleaning in a dishwasher. Icy cold straight from the fridge. Freezing your SIGG bottle is not recommended, or needed!

    Environmentally Friendly
    SIGG bottles are the ultimate re-usable drink holder and, if they finally require replacement, completely recyclable. No toxic solvents are used during production of SIGG bottles.

  5. 5 dougvs June 19, 2008 at 8:01 am

    One further thought-

    Perhaps B.W. Drinker should be a little more transparent with who he represents. His IP Address is from this site, and maybe that explains his biases.

    International Bottled Water Association

  6. 6 Victoria Werneth July 13, 2008 at 6:13 am

    It breaks my heart to see any crisis much less our water crisis.Here is one solution in preserving life,helping our environment.
    I introduce you to the Future of Water:

    The New Atmospheric Water Generator that
    No more plastic bottles,No plumbing or piping needed.
    Just plug it in and within 24 hours you will have
    99.9% PURE FRESH HEALTHY CLEAN WATER!!!And the amazing
    benefits is as you drink from our generator it will continue to replenish itself with more pure clean water
    from our ATMOSPHERE!!

    If you want to put inside your body healthy clean water,
    then be sure to check out my website:
    I believe our generators is the future of water worldwide.

    Victoria Werneth
    Xziex Atmospheric Water Generators

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